Empowering women to lead the development agenda
Gender inequality is an enormous barrier to development in the Solomon Islands. According to UNFPA, women are extremely vulnerable to violence, with 64 per cent of women reporting physical or sexual abuse by a partner. Alarmingly, 73 per cent of both men and women believe this violence is acceptable.
Women also have lower levels of education and land ownership than men, and are excluded from leadership positions at both the household and community level. Because they are excluded from these settings, women and girls are unable to raise their voices on the issues that matter to them, or advocate for their own development needs.
Enhancing women’s voices
Our Bridging the Gap (BTG) project promotes more inclusive village governance, with women, youth, and people with disabilities represented equally. The BTG project also helps communities connect with provincial authorities and lobby for public services, such as water infrastructure.
As part of the BTG project, women from Ghairavu Province in the Solomon Islands recently presented their Village Action Plans at local forums. The women identified health care, water supply, and sanitation as among their top priorities at the forum, which was attended by local leaders, government representatives, service providers, and other NGOs. Meanwhile, 12 women from across 19 villages in East Makira attended a training session on mediation, networking and advocacy.
Women have also formed savings groups and started small businesses as part of the BTG project, increasing their incomes and self-sufficiency. Business models include raising chickens, selling petrol, and producing vegetables.
With this training and support, women are better able to raise their voices and advocate for their development goals.
This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).
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Women are extremely vulnerable to violence, with 64 per cent of women reporting physical or sexual abuse by a partner. Alarmingly, 73 per cent of both men and women believe this violence is acceptable.
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